COVID-19 Vaccine Will Be Required for All Students at Duquesne University
Beginning with the fall 2021 semester, the COVID-19 vaccine will be required for all Duquesne University students intending to be present in person for classes and all other campus activities. This is consistent with existing University policies that require students to be vaccinated for a wide range of diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella and tetanus.
This new requirement is a key factor that will enable the University to lift nearly all of the campus-wide COVID-19 related restrictions currently in place-including masking and physical distancing-and return to a more typical mode of operating in which classes will be able to meet, in-person events can resume, clubs can gather, dining can resume normal operation and residences will no longer need to be de-densified.
"The COVID-19 vaccinations currently authorized by the FDA are safe and have been proven to be extremely effective in preventing transmission of the virus and significantly mitigating its effects in the rare instances where a vaccinated individual contracts COVID-19," says Dr. Paul Larson, medical director for Duquesne University Health Services and physician at UPMC St. Margaret. "With vaccines widely available and proven to be effective, we recommend that all individuals over age 12 and without health conditions that prevent it become fully vaccinated."
Students will provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination status through the University's confidential student health record system, using the same process they use to provide documentation for other required vaccines. The Student Handbook outlines the process for students who wish to request exceptions from the requirement for medical and other reasons, using the same procedures that exist for those who request exceptions from other vaccinations.
"Our community rallied last year in extraordinary circumstances, and we learned how best practices can keep one another safe," says Duquesne President Ken Gormley. "The best practice now is to acquire the vaccine so that we can gather for the classes, events, gatherings and everyday moments that are part of the Duquesne experience. I look forward to our collective effort to have a great return to normal this fall."
Students should start their vaccination process no later than Thursday, July 1, 2021, which will provide them enough time to acquire both doses (if using a two-dose vaccine) and to wait for the necessary two weeks to reach full immunity prior to resuming their presence on campus.
Students should make every effort to complete their vaccination before the start of the semester. However, for those students who are unable to obtain a vaccine over the summer, the University is working to acquire a limited number of vaccines to provide to students by appointment as soon as they arrive on campus. Information on making appointments will be provided closer to the start of the new academic year.
Students who do not have proof of vaccination will be required to wear masks in all indoor spaces on campus. If students who are not vaccinated contract the COVID-19 virus, all associated costs such as for testing, quarantine and/or isolation and medical treatment will be their sole responsibility. Students who are required leave prior to the end of semester due to COVID-19 sickness and who have not provided the University proof of vaccination will not be eligible for refunds on housing and dining fees. For all of these reasons, obtaining the vaccine will be beneficial for students, whether they live on or off campus.
Students' adherence to COVID-19 protocols this year resulted in great success in limiting the spread of disease on campus and in keeping the campus community safe. The University's leadership team is confident that students' getting the vaccine will do the same for the upcoming academic year.
For questions, contact the Division of Student Life at 412.396.3235.